Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(5), 8893-8930; doi:10.3390/ijms15058893

Cancer Stem Cell Theory and the Warburg Effect, Two Sides of the Same Coin?

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Received: 23 March 2014; in revised form: 28 April 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Melatonin 2014)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Over the last 100 years, many studies have been performed to determine the biochemical and histopathological phenomena that mark the origin of neoplasms. At the end of the last century, the leading paradigm, which is currently well rooted, considered the origin of neoplasms to be a set of genetic and/or epigenetic mutations, stochastic and independent in a single cell, or rather, a stochastic monoclonal pattern. However, in the last 20 years, two important areas of research have underlined numerous limitations and incongruities of this pattern, the hypothesis of the so-called cancer stem cell theory and a revaluation of several alterations in metabolic networks that are typical of the neoplastic cell, the so-called Warburg effect. Even if this specific “metabolic sign” has been known for more than 85 years, only in the last few years has it been given more attention; therefore, the so-called Warburg hypothesis has been used in multiple and independent surveys. Based on an accurate analysis of a series of considerations and of biophysical thermodynamic events in the literature, we will demonstrate a homogeneous pattern of the cancer stem cell theory, of the Warburg hypothesis and of the stochastic monoclonal pattern; this pattern could contribute considerably as the first basis of the development of a new uniform theory on the origin of neoplasms. Thus, a new possible epistemological paradigm is represented; this paradigm considers the Warburg effect as a specific “metabolic sign” reflecting the stem origin of the neoplastic cell, where, in this specific metabolic order, an essential reason for the genetic instability that is intrinsic to the neoplastic cell is defined.
Keywords: cancer; glycolysis; cancer stem cells; Warburg effect; ATP; mitochondria; epigenetic modulation; oxidative phosphorylation; differentiation; aerobic glycolysis; entropy; free energy; dissipative structure; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; cancerogenesis; human embryonic stem cells; induced pluripotent stem cells; self renewal
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pacini, N.; Borziani, F. Cancer Stem Cell Theory and the Warburg Effect, Two Sides of the Same Coin? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 8893-8930.

AMA Style

Pacini N, Borziani F. Cancer Stem Cell Theory and the Warburg Effect, Two Sides of the Same Coin? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2014; 15(5):8893-8930.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pacini, Nicola; Borziani, Fabio. 2014. "Cancer Stem Cell Theory and the Warburg Effect, Two Sides of the Same Coin?" Int. J. Mol. Sci. 15, no. 5: 8893-8930.

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